A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found that people who contract COVID-19 are 'highly unlikely' to get reinfected for at least six months. Researchers tested 12,180 frontline health-care workers for coronavirus antibodies to see if they have been previously infected.
They found that 1,246 workers had antibodies, and none of them tested positive for COVID-19. Of the remaining workers who did not have antibodies, 89 tested positive for the coronavirus.
"This is really good news because we can be confident that, at least in the short term, most people who get COVID-19 won't get it again," said David Eyre, a professor at Oxford's Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-led the study.
While the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, and the researchers said they need to do more studies to see if the immunity lasts more than six months, the preliminary results are promising news as scientists continue to develop vaccines for the virus.
"We know from a previous study that antibody levels fall over time," Eyre said. "But this latest study shows that there is some immunity in those who have been infected. We will continue to follow this cohort of staff carefully to see how long protection lasts and whether previous infection affects the severity of infection if people do get infected again."
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